The medium of mobile storytelling is wreathing with potential. The medium bears similarities to other ways of storytelling we discussed such as virtual reality or ergodic literature. All of these implement a level of immersion. Virtual reality makes us feel like we are in the world of the story, while ergodic literature gives us meaningful decisions to drive the story. Mobile storytelling, however, gives the reader a degree of reality not found in the other. It is unique in its ability to transform ordinary space into a meaningful place.
Given this synopsis of mobile storytelling, I was initially excited to participate in this new experience, but my peers and I were very unimpressed by 7scenes. The app fails in almost every principle required for successful mobile storytelling. To involve Jeff Ritchie’s perspective, the app does a better job showcasing the constraints of mobile storytelling rather than highlighting the affordances.
The main constraint was the reliance on motivation. In order for this medium to be effective, the user must be motivated to participate and be willing to walk from point to point. Ritchie refers to this as “really nontrivial effort”, where the user is being asked a large amount by the author. Specifically for 7scenes, there is no motivation. The app allows access to each chapter of the story without actually being in the specified location. With this, the reader has almost no motivation to actually go to the locations. They still can to see the scene the author deemed important, but this aspect is likely not enough to warrant the extra effort.
After the usage of a flawed storytelling system, it is easy to imagine a superior one. Chapters that could only be accessed by location, hiding proceeding chapters, and interaction with the narrative would actualize the potential of mobile storytelling. This is a medium that has the ability to reward readers with gratifying and polished material, yet a competent platform is required.